Amid its battle with Uber for ride-hailing space in India, local rival Ola today unveiled an unusual approach to lure customers: premium in-car experience.
The countrys largest taxi aggregator app today unveiled Ola Play, an in-car system that gives passengers control over the car’s air conditioning and entertainment systems.
Passengers will be able to listen to music and watch movies and TV shows during commute, Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and founder of Ola said, adding that the company has partnered with Apple (for Apple Music) and Sony LIV. Other services that will be offered to passengers include music finder app Audio Compass and fashion shopping service Fynd.
“No one has done it before,” Aggarwal said. As part of the push, all Ola cars will soon have a entertainment system cobbled behind the front seats. Ola Play will be available to Ola Select passengers in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai starting this week, while Ola Prime customers will see the entertainment system in their cars next month. The company says it will bring Ola Play across all its cars eventually.
The idea is not entirely new though. In 2014, Uber had partnered with Spotify, which enabled users to play their Spotify playlist as soon as the entered the car and even control the music. Ola, however, is promising a lot more.
Ola has partnered with Qualcomm for the hardware. It is also working with car company Mahindra & Mahindra to integrate the solution in its cars. The two companies had announced a strategic partnership earlier this year.
Ola is also opening the in-car experience to third-party developers, inviting them to create apps that millions of riders on its platform could enjoy. As a young Indian company, were proud to be at the forefront of the Startup India movement. Ola Play is a world first, built in India by an Indian team, which showcases that we can do better than the best in the world, and be global leaders in technology and innovation, Aggarwal added.
The move marks a deviation from aggressive price revisions and discounts wars that Ola and Uber have been focusing on over the years. In the recent months, the two have been trying to lure drivers to their platform by offering support in buying a car.